MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS FOR FIGHTING CANCER AND BOOSTING IMMUNITY
Medical Mushroom Overview:
When you hear medicinal mushrooms, you may mistakenly think about the illicit drug that’s making rounds in Canada’s medical community. For decades, people have been healing the body with mushrooms. There are over 10,000 edible mushroom species1, and 95% of them aren’t psychoactive. Each offers unique medicinal and nutritional benefits.
Here are just a few of the ways you can use medicinal mushrooms for boosting immunity and improving your overall health. The following are the most wildly used mushrooms for medicinal purposes and how to use them effectively as healing agent of your body.
Six Powerful Medicinal Mushrooms as Optimal Healing Remedies
Also known as Hericium Erinaceus2, the lion’s mane is a culinary and medicinal fungus. These mushrooms are known for their role in immunity health, cancer management, and activities in the central nervous system. Lion’s mane reviews claim it might kill cancer cells3 and reduce4 their spread.
Studies also show it may promote damaged nerves’ regeneration, which is straightforward healing the body with mushrooms. Researchers are studying it as a potential supplement for people at risk for dementia5. Additional reports show promise for helping older adults with mild cognitive impairment6 with three grams of lion’s mane daily.
Other potential benefits of Lion’s mane include:
Turkey tail mushrooms are colorful and grow on tree trunks in wooded areas worldwide and throughout the U.S. Also known as Trametes Versicolor for their vibrant appearance. The fungi have many benefits and a top medicinal mushroom for fighting cancer. Turkey tail is one of the five major mushrooms in oncology11. Additional studies show that it may inhibit colon cancer12 cell growth and prevent the cancerous cells from spreading to nearby healthy cells.
Trametes Versicolor also has immune-boosting carbohydrates. Two polysaccharopeptides13 found in the mushrooms show potential for helping the body fight infections. Other researchers have found evidence that it may improve immune function14 in people with colon cancer.
Other ways turkey tail may help include:
Shiitake mushrooms are wildly used in many dishes around the world. This medicinal mushroom contains compounds called lentinan and eritadenine. Researchers have isolated Lentinan and used it to treat stomach and other cancers because of its antitumor properties.
Additionally, this compound from Shiitake has also been found to protect the liver,28 relieve stomach ailments such as hyperacidity, gallstones, ulcers, and also relieves other health problems such as anemia, ascites, and pleural effusion, lowering cholesterol31.
Other potential advantages of cordyceps include:
- Antitumor effect29
- Antiviral properties (including HIV, hepatitis, and the “common cold”)
- Antibacterial and antifungal effects
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Reduces platelet aggregation (the clumping together of blood cells – possibly forming a blood clot)
- Reduces atherosclerosis30
These are more unique than the other medicinal mushrooms. It’s a parasitic fungus that grows on insect larva. It takes over the host’s body and replaces the insect parts with organic material. In Chinese medicine, the remains of the insect and mushroom are collected by hand and dried.
When healing the body with medicinal mushrooms, the cordyceps is a popular option with plenty of medicinal benefits. There are over 400 species of cordyceps, which may account for its multitude of advantages over other fungi.
The most noted benefit is its potential anti-tumor effects. Evidence that these are medicinal mushrooms for fighting18 cancer can be found in several studies. Another cancer-related advantage is it may reverse the side effects of treatment19, specifically the reduced immune defense following radiation therapy.
Other potential advantages of cordyceps include:
Reishi mushrooms have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. These medicinal mushrooms are known as the “Mushroom of Immortality.” Reishi mushrooms have a powerful compounds called ganoderic acid (a triterpenoid). Researchers found that this compound is often used to treat lung cancers, leukemia, and other cancers.
Other potential advantages of Reishi include:
- Normalization of blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Immune system up-regulation
- Reduction of prostate-related urinary symptoms in men
- Antibacterial, antiviral (Herpes, Epstein-Barr), antifungal (including Candida) properties
- Anti-inflammatory and useful for reducing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
These light brown mushrooms grow wild throughout parts of Asia and North America at the bottom of Elm, Oak, and Maple trees. People in Japan and Asia have been using fungi for years for their wellness benefits. Research is available showing the mushroom’s potential to fight cancer cell growth23 and the spread. Specific studies provide promise that maitake can be helpful when used in conjunction with traditional breast cancer treatments24.
Other potential benefits of maitake include:
- Lower cholesterol25
- Fight cold and flu viruses26
- Help maintain healthy blood pressure27
- Boost immunity function
How to Use Medicinal Mushrooms for boosting immunity and Fighting Cancer
There are several ways to use these potent fungi. You can cook the lion’s mane, maitake, and shiitake and eat them with any meal. The turkey tail and reishi may be too bitter to eat. Most people consume these mushrooms (turkey tail and reishi) as a tincture or in a capsule. You can take more and avoid eating some of the less pleasant varieties with these methods.
For centuries, civilizations have been healing the body with mushrooms. These naturally occurring fungi offer a wide range of potential benefits. Unlike other organic supplements, these are easy to take as a tincture under your tongue or in a capsule you can swallow with a glass of water. From using medicinal mushrooms for boosting immunity to taking them to complement cancer treatments, they’re an excellent source of natural wellness.